I have been learning Welsh now from this website on and off for about 3 years. Most of my Welsh has been learned though over the last 12 months realistically. I have completed all the courses here from 1-3 including the two extra “newbie” courses. I found all the courses excellent and continually use them daily, however I struggle with fluency because I have never ever spoken face to face with a Welsh speaker. I know this is the next stage in moving forward in my language training but this is not my reason for posting…
What I have found progressively ever since first learning Welsh a few years ago, is that my English often becomes a victim of my learning. I will often experience a problem spelling - and even pronouncing - an English word, which I never had problems with before learning Welsh.
A simple spelling example that I struggled to spell (while typing an email) was the word “inscription” which I started to spell as “encryption”, and I actually had to visit a dictionary to get that spelling that I always knew in the past!
I find I can often mispronounce basic English words too, but I do this by substituting the English for Welsh-like pronunciation, in that for example, I often mispronounce an English “C” for a Welsh “G” and this is just a simple example of many more idiotic examples.
I am sure this is a temporary problem and is simply a product of my learning new vocabularies in other languages, but it would be interesting to know if others are facing these embarrassing moments, and how long it takes to overcome them…
Hi Roy, I haven’t yet had problems with spelling, but what I have been finding is that a Welsh word might be more accessible to me than an English one. A simple example is that I find myself saying ‘diolch’ instead of ‘thank you’ a lot, much to the annoyance of those around me.
I do think it’s just s normal part of acquiring a new language, and that it’s actually a good sign - it means you really have absorbed and assimilated the language into your life.
Hello Roy! As a language teacher I can say that language interference is a very common (though annoying) thing. It is probably related to the fact that our brain is trying to make things easier for us and instead of learning a new language as a completely new system, it is always working on creating connections with things previously learnt, especially with your L1 (first language), transferring the elements of one language to another. Also, if the new language is not your first foreign language, it will interfere, at first, not only with your L1 but also with the languages previously learnt (especially if they have similar grammar systems and/or vocabulary). It is an absolutely natural thing and students shouldn’t worry too much about it. It seems to appear less the more familiar you get with the new language that you’re learning.
Even so, even after you’re more or less fluent in a new language, sometimes you find that certain things are easier for you to say in a certain language, if you’re used to speaking about this subject in this certain language (even if your mother-tongue is different). For example, a specialist who deals with English-speaking partners at work might try to switch to English every time he speaks about his business, and may forget his mother-tongue words for the work-related things or even use his mother-tongue words incorrectly. It is very fascinating, because it shows that this language has become a natural language for this certain part of your life.
Yup, pretty much everyone who speaks more than one language gets some language interference at some point - but don’t worry, it settles down…
And as Stella says, it’s a terrific sign that you’re doing very well - when you do manage to get yourself talking to a Welsh speaker for an hour or so a week, you’re going to have a very exciting time as you realise that you have actually turned yourself into a Welsh speaker
Ah, @royengland, even if it doesn’t quite settles down, don’t worry too much. I speak 4 languages and mix some things quite often however if they’re similar people don’t even notice that. (well I have spelling isues when typing too, actually so not all typing mistakes here are of that mixing matter though). You know it’s that “quick reading” ability when even if something is written slightly wrong or misspelled you’ll see it correct and won’t even notice it’s wrong until one alerts you to that.
Thanks guys and gals…Its good to know this is indeed a natural thing that happens when learning a new language. Good stuff.
I read a lot of scifi and fantasy . . . and ever since I started learning Welsh, I automatically apply Welsh pronunciation rules to “alien” names. I see no reason why Welsh isn’t the true universal language.